To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Changes in weed seedbank composition are often monitored by removing seeds from soil samples. One extraction method accomplishes this by creating a slurry of soil and a concentrated inorganic salt solution. Centrifugation is then used to separate constituents of differing densities. We have found that centrifugation of giant foxtail seeds in 3.2 M potassium carbonate solution as conducted in a centrifugation/flotation extraction method can reduce viability as measured by germination and tetrazolium tests. In one experiment, centrifugation/flotation separation reduced germination of giant foxtail seeds from 94 to 52%. The likely cause of seed damage was the high pH of the potassium carbonate solution in conjunction with the increased hydrostatic pressure due to centrifugation. While centrifugation affected quantitative measures of seed viability, it did not alter qualitative viability estimates using a pressure test.
Weed seedbanks have been studied intensively at local scales, but to date, there have been no regional-scale studies of weed seedbank persistence. Empirical and modeling studies indicate that reducing weed seedbank persistence can play an important role in integrated weed management. Annual seedbank persistence of 13 summer annual weed species was studied from 2001 through 2003 at eight locations in the north central United States and one location in the northwestern United States. Effects of seed depth placement, tillage, and abiotic environmental factors on seedbank persistence were examined through regression and multivariate ordinations. All species examined showed a negative relationship between hydrothermal time and seedbank persistence. Seedbank persistence was very similar between the two years of the study for common lambsquarters, giant foxtail, and velvetleaf when data were pooled over location, depth, and tillage. Seedbank persistence of common lambsquarters, giant foxtail, and velvetleaf from October 2001 through 2002 and October 2002 through 2003 was, respectively, 52.3% and 60.0%, 21.3% and 21.8%, and 57.5% and 57.2%. These results demonstrate that robust estimates of seedbank persistence are possible when many observations are averaged over numerous locations. Future studies are needed to develop methods of reducing seedbank persistence, especially for weed species with particularly long-lived seeds.
Agronomic research and extension personnel generally recognize the benefits of integrated pest management (IPM) but IPM practices have not been rapidly adopted by farmers. In order for applied research and extension programs to be as influential as possible, strategies and tactics must be evaluated in the context of the real-world constraints experienced by farmers. We investigated the linkage between farmers' pest management behaviors, attitudes, and constraints by analyzing an extensive corn pest management survey distributed throughout Wisconsin in 2002. Our objectives were to (1) create a benchmark against which future changes in pest management practices could be detected and (2) explore potential associations between practices and farm characteristics, e.g., farm size or commodity produced. A total of 213 farmers responded with descriptions of their operations; weed, insect, and disease pest management practices; crop consultant usage; interactions with their local agrichemical dealer; and attitudes regarding pest management decision-making. We compared the relative responses of cash-grain and dairy farmers as well as managers of large and small farms. Larger farm size and percentage of operation in cash-grain production were associated with an increased frequency of rotating crops, rotating herbicide families, and use of a broadcast herbicide application. Managers of large farms and/or cash-grain crops also more frequently indicated considering the level of pest control, price, carryover potential, weed resistance management, environmental safety, and risk to the applicator than did dairy or small-sized operations. Cash-grain farmers had significantly higher scores on a calculated IPM index than did dairy farmers (P < 0.0001). We also found a significant positive relationship between farm size and IPM score (P < 0.0001). Our results provide a benchmark for future comparisons of IPM adoption rates in Wisconsin and highlight the association between IPM research/extension and farmers' management behavior.
Researchers interested in describing or understanding agroecological systems have many reasons to consider on-farm research. Yet, despite the inherent realism and pedagogical value of on-farm studies, recruiting cooperators can be difficult and this difficulty can result in so-called “convenience samples” containing a potentially large and unknown bias. There is often no formal justification for claiming that on-farm research results can be extrapolated to farms beyond those participating in the study. In some sufficiently well-understood research areas, models may be able to correct for potential bias; however, no theoretical argument is as persuasive as a direct comparison between a randomized and a convenience sample. In a 30-cooperator on-farm study investigating weed community dynamics across the state of Wisconsin, we distributed a written survey probing farmer weed management behaviors and attitudes. The survey contained 59 questions that overlapped a large, randomized survey of farmer corn pest management behavior. We compared 187 respondents from the larger survey with the 18 respondents from our on-farm study. For dichotomous response questions, we found no difference in response rate for 80% of the questions (α = 0.2, β > 0.5). Differences between the two groups were logically connected to the selection criteria used to recruit cooperators in the on-farm study. Similarly, comparisons of nondichotomous response questions did not differ for 80% of the questions (α = 0.05, β > 0.9). Exploratory multivariate analyses failed to reveal differences that might have been hidden from the marginal analyses. We argue that our findings support the notion that the convenience samples often associated with on-farm research may be representative of the more general class of farms, despite lack of bias protection provided by truly randomized designs.
Managing weed infestations in a spatially precise manner requires accurate and cost-effective weed identification techniques. The goal of our research was to quantify the accuracy of continuous weed presence–absence maps and assess how management based on those maps may affect producer net returns. Each continuous sampled map covered the entire field and contained vector polygons labeled as either wild oat presence or wild oat absence. The accuracy of the continuous wild oat maps at each sampling time was determined from georeferenced quadrats of wild oat densities. The accuracy of the continuous wild oat seedling maps ranged from 48.3 to 87.1% among the six site-years. The accuracy of the wild oat seedling maps improved by at least 8% when a 10-m buffer was included around areas mapped as wild oat presence. The accuracy of continuous wild oat panicle maps from the combine at harvest ranged from 65.8 to 90.9% among the six site-years. The variation in accuracy for the wild oat seedling maps among sites was greater than the accuracy of the panicle maps. Net returns ($ ha−1) for four site-years were calculated and compared for four possible weed management approaches on each field. A site-specific herbicide application to areas mapped as wild oat presence always generated higher net returns than a herbicide application over the entire field for four sites. A site-specific herbicide application to areas mapped as wild oat presence plus a surrounding 10-m buffer area only resulted in a higher net return in one of the 12 site-years compared with a site-specific herbicide application without the 10-m buffer. This site had the lowest (48.3%) wild oat seedling map accuracy, and uncontrolled wild oat had a high-yield effect. This research indicates that using a continuous weed sampling method based on presence or absence for site-specific herbicide application can be profitable over a herbicide application to the entire field, even with the associated technology cost and seedling map errors.
One of the primary benefits of site-specific agricultural technologies is the potential to reduce the use of polluting inputs, thereby minimizing ecological damage. Weeds are often found in patches, so site-specific (field scale) management offers a straightforward opportunity to minimize ecological effects related to wasteful broadcast use of herbicides. Beyond possible efficiencies related to accurate targeting, site-specific technologies, through a process of parameterizing management decision models for each field, may improve ecological understanding of weed populations and thus encourage ecologically based management. This hypothesis was assessed with a simple model that combined economic injury–level prediction with a single parameter (growing season precipitation) to represent environmental variability. Model simulations of crop yield in response to weed density at a virtual farm and six surrounding regional experiment stations suggested that localized (on-farm field) parameter estimation may help to circumvent the variability associated with damage function extrapolation from small-plot experiments at experiment stations and thereby improve predictive accuracy for site-specific weed management (SSWM) strategies. Thus, remote sensing and SSWM technologies may allow producers to reduce the risk associated with the reduced use of purchased inputs and greater reliance on natural weed population–regulating mechanisms. Effective ecologically based weed management may be dependent on local parameterization of models.
Weed science has contributed much to agriculture, forestry and natural resource management during its history. However, if it is to remain relevant as a scientific discipline, it is long past time for weed scientists to move beyond a dominating focus on herbicide efficacy testing and address the basic science underlying complex issues in vegetation management at many levels of biological organization currently being solved by others, such as invasion ecologists and molecular biologists. Weed science must not be circumscribed by a narrowly-defined set of tools but rather be seen as an integrating discipline. As a means of assessing current and future research interests and funding trends among weed scientists, the Weed Science Society of America conducted an online survey of its members in summer of 2007. There were 304 respondents out of a membership of 1330 at the time of the survey, a response rate of 23%. The largest group of respondents (41%) reported working on research problems primarily focused on herbicide efficacy and maintenance, funded mainly by private industry sources. Another smaller group of respondents (22%) reported focusing on research topics with a complex systems focus (such as invasion biology, ecosystem restoration, ecological weed management, and the genetics, molecular biology, and physiology of weedy traits), funded primarily by public sources. Increased cooperation between these complementary groups of scientists will be an essential step in making weed science increasingly relevant to the complex vegetation management issues of the 21st century.
Considerable discussion has occurred among the weed science community regarding the potential benefits and limitations of integrated approaches to crop and pest management. This discussion also needs to occur in our weed science classrooms, where students from a wide range of academic disciplines are trained in the fundamentals of weed ecology and management. Although the inherent complexity of integrated crop and pest management can make this adaptation to our weed science courses challenging, the use of experiential learning techniques provides an effective means to promote understanding and retention of these concepts. This paper outlines several classroom activities based on the experiential learning approaches that have been implemented by the authors. The activities focus on (1) weed identification and natural history, (2) weed population processes, and (3) integrated management systems. For each activity, we offer our rationale for the exercise, an example of its implementation in the classroom setting, potential pitfalls, and student feedback regarding their perceptions of the activity's educational value. With this paper, we hope to provide examples that may be useful to other weed science educators wishing to incorporate more experiential learning activities into their courses and to initiate a dialogue between educators that can help our community improve and enliven weed science education.
Scientific understanding of multitactic weed management systems (MTS) is complicated by (1) the large number of potential combinations among tactics, (2) potentially noisy and complex system behavior because of individually more moderate mortality events, and (3) possible transient system behavior of unknown duration. Therefore, decomposing the relative performance of MTS components is much more difficult than it is for single-tactic strategies (STS). Attempting to accommodate the increased complexity of system behavior while maintaining the generality of results requires analytical methods capable of accomplishing these tasks. We provide two examples of statistical procedures that may help gain understanding of MTS systems using previously published weed demographic time-series data. First, we demonstrate the use of mixed-effects models capable of representing and removing factors contributing uncontrolled variation to system behavior. Model selection criteria are used to highlight the importance of the increased flexibility the mixed-model framework provides. Second, by explicitly modeling the probabilistic process presumed to be generating the data, we demonstrate how different components of the MTS can be compared and how the methodology can facilitate integration of such information into a decision-making application.
The importance of managing weeds in seminatural habitats that are adjacent to farm fields is unclear. Weedy-margin vegetation may harbor pests or pathogens and may ALSo serve as source populations for ongoing immigration of weeds into the field. It is ALSo possible, however, that margin vegetation provides habitat for organisms that consume weed seeds or suppress the likelihood of pest or pathogen outbreak. We examined the nature of margin habitat using spatial-scaling of Weed-Species richness as an ecological assay. In 2003, we recorded the occurrence of weedy species along the perimeters of 63 fields in Wisconsin. The fields were distributed within six counties that differed in topography, geological history, local climate, and soil type and which spanned the range of variability in the agricultural landscape. We identified seven habitats that differed in geology and land use. The relationship between species richness and margin class was estimated using an analog of the power law. Additionally, we investigated broadscale correlates of habitat heterogeneity at the field level, using a modeling strategy that included additional explanatory factors logically connected to plant diversity. Using a model-confrontation approach, the survey supported the inclusion of two topographical diversity indices, elevation gradient and a field-shape index, into our model. Our broadscale survey provides information on one of a suite of important considerations needed to make decisions about the importance of managing weeds in field margins.
The adoption of precision technologies that spatially register measurements using global positioning systems (GPS) greatly facilitates conducting large-scale on-farm research by farmers. On-farm experiments that utilize producer equipment include variations in agronomic practices that occur in situations where we want to predict the effect of inputs on yield. The domain of inference for such on-farm studies therefore more closely matches that desired by researchers. To investigate the feasibility of on-farm research using GPS, a study was conducted to evaluate the potential benefit of site-specific weed management. The study utilized producer-maintained field-scale equipment on four Montana farms in dryland spring wheat production. Paired site-specific and whole-field herbicide treatment areas were established in 0.9 to 1.9-ha blocks using consultant weed maps and a geographic information system (GIS). Yield was unaffected by herbicide treatment strategy (site-specific or broadcast). Minimal detectable yield differences were evaluated for the experimental design (0.2 T ha−1). Net returns increased when the percentage of field infested by wild oat decreased. Visual ratings of wild oat density taken at harvest indicated no difference in wild oat control between treatments in two of four site-years. This research suggests that producer-owned equipment can be used to compare treatments, but the accuracy and subsequent power of such comparisons are likely to be low.
Synthetic seed banks are a useful tool for tracking how weed populations change over time. By sowing a known number of seeds of a given species within a quadrat with defined boundaries, an investigator can measure the number remaining and thereby calculate demographic rates (e.g., mortality). The alternative is to use in situ seeds and estimate their initial population density via sampling. To make a synthetic seed bank approach useful within an agricultural system subjected to soil disturbances such as tillage, one would need a way to account for seeds leaving the initial quadrat (i.e., a way to follow how the area encompassing the sown seeds changes over time). Without accounting for the change in location/extent of the synthetic seed bank, any field operation moving soil will create additional uncertainty in population size. Depending on the “aggressiveness” of specific field operations and the initial size of the quadrat, this effect might be negligible or so large as to be intractable. Here, we describe a method for following a synthetic seed bank over time using a “living boundary” of nondormant seeds, which effectively play the role of tracers used in the study of dynamics in other scientific disciplines. Study quadrats in East Lansing, MI, and Arlington, WI, were sown with giant foxtail and velvetleaf at a rate of 2,000 seeds m−2. The study quadrats were marked on the perimeter and diagonals using nondormant seeds of three marker species: kale, radish, and rye. The areas were then subjected to tillage and planting operations. Spatial coordinates of seedling locations for the marker and weed species were obtained through digital image processing. A nonparametric comparison of the spatial displacement of marker and weed species indicated that their empirical spatial distributions did not differ. The marker species quadrats described by the 50th, 90th, and 99th quantiles of movement contained all velvetleaf seedlings in Wisconsin, all velvetleaf seedlings in Michigan, and all giant foxtail seedlings in Michigan, respectively. The results suggest a simple rule for applying the method to field demography studies: after the original quadrat is deformed and seedlings have emerged, flag the polygon containing all marker seedlings to obtain the expanded quadrat containing the study weed population.
The advent of site-specific weed management has generated research aimed at predicting weed spatial distributions from existing weed maps or correlations with soil properties and edaphic factors. Forecasting the spatial distribution of annual weeds requires knowledge of fecundity, dispersal, management, and suitable habitat distribution. We hypothesized that wild oat habitat was limited by field-scale heterogeneity in plant-available water. We eliminated seed number and dispersal limitations by seeding wild oat in areas with and without historical wild oat patches in three similarly managed spring wheat fields that differed in soil properties and wild oat infestations and were situated within a 160-km radius of Great Falls, MT. Wild oat habitat was quantified by wild oat leaf area growth rate, mature shoot biomass, seeds produced per plant, biomass water use efficiency, and competitive ratio with spring wheat. Soil texture and plot elevation correlated with existing wild oat patch areas in individual fields, but no site properties consistently correlated with wild oat patch areas in all three fields. Soil water use (SWU) and almost all habitat-defining variables for wild oat were similar between historic patch and nonpatch areas. Wild oat grew and produced seed regardless of existing patch boundaries and field-scale heterogeneity in SWU. This research suggested that (1) wild oat habitat may be unlimited in cereal grain cropping systems of the Northern Great Plains and (2) soil properties are a poor predictor of weed distribution for a generalist such as wild oat.